PLANS to expand The Purbeck School campus with buildings from the former Wareham Middle School site have been abandoned by County Hall.
Civic chiefs have decided against upgrading the middle school campus, with a view to turning parts of it into a new arts block for the neighbouring Wareham secondary.
Instead The Purbeck School, as part of its £8.25million upgrade, will develop new music, art and drama facilities on its main campus.
Dorset County Council education cabinet member Cllr Toni Coombs confirmed: “We had planned to use the former Wareham Middle School to help expand The Purbeck School campus as part of the reorganisation of schools in the area, as we were expecting to cater for two extra year groups at the school.
“Until there was confirmation of the Swanage free school opening, we had to plan for these extra pupils.
“As soon as lower pupil numbers became certain we held a meeting with The Purbeck School and agreed that, although the playing fields were still required, it would be much better for the school to redevelop the music, art and drama facilities on the main campus and not use the former middle school site.”
Exactly what will become of the former middle school, which was closed by Dorset County Council last year as part of its £36.5 million Purbeck Review, a switch from a three to a two-tier education system, is not known.
Cllr Coombs said: “We have no immediate plans for the middle school site but will be exploring a number of options. Right now our priority is to upgrade The Purbeck School for the benefit of the students.”
Work to remodel The Purbeck School’s existing music block is scheduled to begin in March.
“We are creating a large drama studio and the art department is being refurbished,” said Cllr Coombs. “The school will be getting the same type of facilities that they would have done on the middle school site – they will just be part of the main school instead.”
A county council spokesman said there were also concerns about rising repair costs at the middle school site, and that it had been vandalised.
The upgraded pedestrian crossing, put in by the county, will still be necessary because The Purbeck School will be using the sports field at the middle school site, they added.